The Latest In Progress
The splendor of the animal kingdom and human language (English and Spanish) come together in this collection of poetry that will please children and adults alike. The simple yet descriptive language conveys an understanding of each animal while being accessible to young children. The illustrations unify the English and Spanish versions of the poems. The gouache medium, folk art style, and choice of colors and hues give the book a vibrant, Latin feel. Paschkis cleverly weaves poetic words from both Spanish and English throughout the illustrations--giving the rich sounds of language to blades of grass, leaves, a turtle's shell, water, and more. Poetry permeates the entire book in this way, extending readers' exploration and enjoyment of the book. Up to Seven. -Summer Rosswog
In a "ripped from the headlines" story, black teen Rashad is a victim of police brutality and white classmate Quinn is a witness. In alternating chapters, with Reynolds writing the voice of Rashad and Kiely writing the voice of Quinn, the two teens struggle to face the realities of what happened and how to move forward. As the incident blows up in the press, each grapples with the expectations of members of their respective communities and how they should address (or not avoid) what happened. A powerful, relevant and complicated look at our society and our response to violence. Alicia Blowers. Fourteen and Up.
The audiobook version of this nominated title is an especially wonderful listening experience. Narrator Heather Alicia Simms brings the characters to life with her voice intonations and dramatic timing. What makes this audio stand out is the narrator's singing of religious hymns and other spirituals. Alicia Blowers. Audio
A thought-provoking poem wends its way through luminous pencil and watercolor illustrations. Noting nature's interconnected relationships, young readers may contemplate some their earliest philosophical concepts, and consider countless other associations linking aspects of our world. Up to Seven. -Todd Krueger
The world is not as we know it. Hitler and the Axis Powers won WWII and rule most of the planet. Yael is subject to experiments while in a death camp; she escapes with the ability to skinshift, making her a valuable part of the resistance. In order to carry out the most important mission, she must compete in and win a grueling motorcycle race across continents. Everything will be fine if she can stay ahead of the other 19 racers and keep her true identity concealed. Add a small dash of science fiction to this story of identity and relationships set in an alternate history. The fast-paced action will pull readers quickly through yet the beautiful language will make you want to slow down and savor every word. 14 and up (Julie Dietzel-Glair)
Henry, aka “Biggie” Abbot, prides himself as much on his perfect GPA as he does on flying under the radar at school, no easy feat for a guy well over six feet and three-hundred pounds and growing, thanks to easy access to greasy treats at his convenience store job. The illegitimate son of his Iowa hometown’s baseball legend, and stepson of and stepbrother to two more ball players, it’s a wonder that he’s been able to avoid baseball since a T-ball incident when he was six, but he has, instead immersing himself in online relationships with over a hundred different girls, which doesn’t keep him from pining for (and cyber-stalking) Annabelle, whom he manages to impress by pitching a perfect Whiffle ball game after his forged “get out of gym class” note is uncovered and destroyed by his mom. Inspired by Annabelle’s encouragement and excited by the prospect of success on the diamond, Biggie begins training and learns as much about himself and others as he does about pitching over the course of the school year. Sylvie Shaffer. (14+)
Sydney has always felt invisible at home and at school next to her outgoing brother. The feeling is exacerbated when he ends up in jail after hitting someone while driving drunk. It is only after changing schools and making new friends that she is able to discover who she truly is. An evocative and compelling narrative that shines a light on the struggles within the drunk-driver's family, a view rarely addressed. 14 and up. Ruth Compton